Presented a day before the Union Budget, the Economic Survey serves as the official report of the economy.
On Tuesday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will address Parliament and table the Economic Survey, which will feature economic growth forecasts, suggest policy changes and set the tone for the Union Budget to be presented on Wednesday. Here's a lowdown on the main features of the Economic Survey:
What is the Economic Survey?
The annual Economic Survey is usually tabled a day before the presentation of the annual 'Budget. It serves as the official report of the economy. This year, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will table it in Parliament on January 31, Tuesday—a day before he presents the Union Budget for 2017-18 on February 1.
What does it contain?
It gives a detailed account of the state of the economy, prospects and the policy challenges. It carries sectoral overviews and comments on reform measures that are required. The survey’s outlook serves as a marker about future policy moves.
Who drafts the Economic Survey?
The Economic Survey is authored by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian and his team.
What about projections?
The survey puts out economic growth forecasts, giving out detailed reasons why it believes the economy will expand faster or decelerate.
Does the survey suggest policy changes?
Successive CEAs have used the Economic Survey to recommend policy changes, sometimes even sweeping measures. This year, for instance, the survey is widely expected to recommend the rollout of Universal Basic Income (UBI), a poverty alleviation plan involving direct money transfer to people’s bank accounts.
Are such recommendations binding?
The government isn’t bound to follow these recommendations and only serve as a policy guide. The Economic Survey, in the past, has favoured policy moves that come into conflict with the official line of thinking of the government in power. These do not necessarily serve as pointers to what to expect in the annual budget. On many occasions, policy changes recommended in the Economic Survey have not been reflected in budget proposals.